Cafe replies to slur

PUBLISHED: 15:25 06 December 2009 | UPDATED: 12:25 10 June 2010

A BUDLEIGH Salterton businesswoman has hit out at a holidaymaker s claims that the town is dull and turns away business.

A BUDLEIGH Salterton businesswoman has hit out at a holidaymaker's claims that the town is 'dull' and turns away business.

Cosy Teapot owner Paula Roberts has rubbished West Midlands' visitor Enid Dickson's claims staff at the popular café turned her friends away ahead of closing time.

Enid Dickson, of Streetly, West Midlands, wrote to the Cosy Teapot and also the chief executive of East Devon District Council saying she would 'never' visit Budleigh Salterton again because the group had been unable to buy a cup of tea.

She complained it was the second time the friends had experienced problems with early closing times in the town.

In her letter, Mrs Dickson, who annually stays in Sidmouth, said: "The area has so much to offer, beautiful scenery, splendid walks and the Manor Theatre.

"Always we visit Budleigh Salterton, but never again.

Last year we walked from Otterton while the others drove. We arranged to meet at the Cosy Teapot Café.

"Three of us who were early ordered our tea, although we could see the others walking along we were told they would not be served if they arrived after 4pm. We pre-ordered for them and they made it just in time.

"This year we again went to the Cosy Teapot and arrived in good time.

"At three minutes to 4pm a 'closed' sign was erected and three people were turned away.

"On returning to our hotel, other guests remarked they never go to Budleigh now as it is such a dull place.

"I feel that it is a great pity to have a dormant little town in an otherwise thriving and welcoming area."

Cosy Teapot owner Mrs Roberts said her day begins at 5.30am when she hand-makes all the food and cakes for the café.

She said the café welcomed constructive criticism, and worked hard to meet its customers' needs.

She said the only time the Cosy Teapot was likely to close ahead of time was during bad weather if trade was slow.

Mrs Roberts said: "On a wet day, or on a day when the weather is bad, we could sit at the Cosy Teapot and serve one pot of tea for two - that's not going to pay our bills.

"We do listen to constructive letters. During the summer months we hope we will be open every day."

Budleigh Salterton Chamber of Commerce said the town was full of tearooms and pubs that served customers all day and into the evening.

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